Changing coach breathed life into Japan's World Cup campaign

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The Samurai Blue looked on track to reach their first quarter-final in three last-16 attempts after going 2-0 ahead early in the second half, only to see Belgium roar back and snatch a 3-2 win with an explosive counter-attack deep into stoppage time.

A Japan fan tidies up the stadium after the loss to Belgium.

Martinez's men set up the mouthwatering clash after narrowly avoiding a disaster against Japan, with Nacer Chadli coming off the bench to secure a 3-2 victory.

Japan might have exited the World Cup but they have definitely left a lasting impression at the tournament.

After several poor showings leading up to the World Cup, and an 11th hour decision by bosses to sack coach Vahid Halilhodzic, many feared Japan would not even make it out of its group. "Eden Hazard is probably the best young player in the world with legs to go there, but give him time".

The World Cup will be remembered for many things, and the antics of Brazilian superstar Neymar will be right up there.

"This is our third time in the last 16 and we have been very tactical in our approach", Nishino said.

And this defensive solidity has meant that Brazil have conceded just six goals in 25 games and just one at this World Cup.

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Following on from Saudi Arabia's win over Egypt, Iran's defeat of Morocco and an impressive Australian display in a narrow first up loss to France, Asia showed at this World Cup that not only do they belong but that also they can compete with the very best.

"We need to go through to the next round constantly with more teams".

"We don't talk about that to our players". We will be together at the next chapter.

Despite failing to get on the scoresheet, the 25-year-old helped to commit Japan defenders in the build-up to Belgium's stoppage-time victor, as well as producing a perfectly-timed feint before Chadli slotted home.

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Meanwhile, Spanish club Real Betis will feel vindicated for their signing of Japan's breakout star Takashi Inui. They are also known to do the same in other competitions as well.

Former Japan worldwide Daisuke Ichikawa believed Belgium enjoyed a big slice of luck with their first goal, Jan Vertonghen's looping header from 20 yards, while ex-captain Ryuzo Morioka said: "They (Japan) shocked the world".